OceanSide church of Christ

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Part of the series: PARABLES OF JESUS
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Luke 12:13-21

Victor M. Eskew




A.   We have all heard of the horror stories that can be involved with inheritance money.

1.     Lies and deception

2.     Hated, strife, and division

3.     Crimes, and, even murder


B.    Our parable tonight begins with one of these stories.

1.     Luke is the only author to include this story in his Life of Christ.

2.     It is found in Luke 12:13-21.

3.     The title of the parable is:  “The Rich Fool.”


C.   The parable stems from one thing:  covetousness.

1.     Covetousness involves a greedy desire to have.

2.     When one desires to have, he cannot be rich toward God.


I.           AVARICE (Luke 12:13-15)


A.   These three verses set the stage for Jesus’ parable.


And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.  And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge over you?  And he said unto them, take heed, and beware of covetousness:  for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.


B.    The inheritance (Luke 12:13)

1.     We are not given much information about this situation.

2.     There was a simple request made by a man regarding his brother.

3.     This man did not think he was getting his rightful portion.

4.     Thus, he wanted Jesus to speak to his brother about the matter.

5.     His seeing Jesus as a powerful religious leader may have been what prompted the request.


C.   The Irritation (Luke 12:14)

1.     Jesus addressed the individual with the word “Man.”

a.     This is about as frigid as one can be.

b.    It shows Jesus’ irritation with the request.

2.     Jesus was not in the position of a judge in this matter.  Judges could be found elsewhere.

3.     Too, Jesus knew that there was a deeper problem involved.


D.   The Instruction (Luke 12:15)

1.     Take heed

a.     To stare at

b.    To discern clearly

c.    To attend to

2.     Beware of covetousness

a.     Definitions

1)     Beware

a)     Through the idea of isolation

b)     To watch, be on guard

2)     Covetousness

a)     Avarice

b)     Greediness

c)     Greedy desire to have more

b.    Here was the real problem that the man who came to Jesus had.  He was greedy of gain.

c.    Covetous is a dangerous thing.  The things we so deeply desire can become our gods.

1)     Colossians 3:5-6


Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inor-dinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  for which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.


2)     For this cause, Paul tells us to not let covetousness be once named among us as becometh saints (Eph. 5:3-5).

3.     The truth is that our lives do not consist in the abundance of the things we possess.

a.     It is difficult in our high-tech and highly marketed society to learn this lesson.  We all want and accumulate far too many things.

b.    The key is to live in a different way.  Jesus will speak to this end later in the account.


II.         ABUNDANCE (Luke 12:16)


And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully.


A.   Here we see a man who is blessed with great abundance


B.    NOTE:  The sin is not in the abundance.

1.     A man buys land and works it so it will produce.

2.     If he is wise and diligent and sows much, he will reap much.


C.   We are much like this wealthy farmer.  We, too, have plenty.

1.     The average household income in the U.S. in 2011 was $50,502.00.

2.     We have homes, cars, plenty of clothes, plenty of food, cell phones, computers, IPads, boats, bikes, tools, sporting equipment, and vacations.




III.       AIMS (Luke 12:17-19)


A.   What was this man going to do with his blessings?  Here we learn of his problem.


And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said, This will I do:  I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.


B.    Every aim this man had was pointed directly at self.

1.     He had too much – no room to bestow my fruits.

2.     He built for himself “greater” barns.

3.     He stored his goods for himself.

4.     He was self-satisfied:  “thou hast much goods.”

5.     The text is about self:

a.     Opening:  He thought within himself

b.    “I” is used six times.

c.    “My” is used four times.


C.   What we do not see:

1.     There is no thanksgiving to God.

2.     There is no assistance of others.

3.     There is no use of funds to glorify God.


IV.        ANIMOSITY (Luke 12:20)


But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:  then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided.


A.   The Lord was not pleased with this man at all.

1.     He sees his actions and there is animosity, anger, righteous indignation in the heart of God.

2.     With lightning fast speed, he puts all in perspective and gets our attention.


B.    Three things are seen in this verse:

1.     Assessment:  God refers to this man as a “fool.”

a.     Definition

1)     Strong (878):  mindless, stupid, ignorant, egotistical, rash

2)     Thayer:  without reason, senseless, stupid, without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly

b.    What is interesting about this assessment is that it contradicts man’s assessment.

1)     We would see this man as being very fortunate.

2)     We would think that he had to build bigger barns.

3)     We would commend him for being able to “kick back” and take it easy.

2.     Appointment:  …this night thy soul shall be required of thee.

a.     All of this man’s plans would come to an end.  He would meet with death.

b.    When death is imminent:

1)     Plans cease

2)     Rejoicing stops

3)     Reflection begins

4)     Things are put in proper perspective

3.     Appeal:  …then, whose shall those things be, which thou has provided?

a.     They go to family members who did not work for them.

b.    They are sold to strangers.

c.    They are consumed by the State.

d.    They are left to ruin and rot.


V.          APPLICATION (Luke 12:20)


So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.


A.   Our choices in life center around two areas:  self or God.


B.    God wants us using all that we have for His glory and honor.

1.     I Timothy 6:17-18


Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, not trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy:  that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.


2.     Using our treasure for God’s purposes is the only way to store up lasting treasure in the world to come.

a.     I Timothy 6:19


Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.


b.    Matthew 6:19-21


Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal:  for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.




A.   We noted in our study that we are like the rich man in that we have been blessed with plenty.


B.    The question that we need to ask is this:  Does God assess us as laying up treasure for ourselves, or, does He see us as being rich toward God?


C.   Proverbs 11:4


Riches profit not in the day of wrath:  but righteousness delivereth from death.